Diana Wilhite

April 22, 1956 — July 25, 2022


July 29, 2022 - 4:14 PM

Diana Wilhite

Diana R. Wilhite, 66, rural Emporia, passed away Monday, July 25, 2022 at the Saint Luke Hospice House, Kansas City, Mo., after a long battle with cancer.

Diana R. Hawk was born in Iola on April 22, 1956, the daughter of Dale and Pauline (Baugher) Hawk.  

Diana married Robert Wilhite at Messiah Lutheran Church in Emporia on Oct. 20, 1989. 

 He survives. Also surviving are her children; Brian Wilhite, Topeka,  Logan Frank (Jasmine), Columbia, Mo., Garett Frank (Kassidy), Denver, Colo., Jolie Chance (Terry), Oak Grove, Mo., and Brandy Maxfield (Rusty), Council Grove; her mother, Pauline Hawk, Iola; sisters, including her twin, Donna Regehr, Iola, and Sandy Frizzell, Emporia; 11 grandchildren, Kailee McGuire, Ryder McGuire, Molly McGuire, Landon Chance, Emmett Chance, Addie Frank, Mya Frank, Elliot Frank, Miles Frank, Liam Frank and Jade Wilhite.  

Her father died earlier.

She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Emporia State University, and had taught in the North Lyon County School District, and later at Emporia Middle School, and retired six years ago.

Donna Regehr penned a tribute to her sister.

“Let me tell you things about Diana that made her who she was. First of all, nothing was more important to her than her family. She would have walked across hell for them. Her children and her bonus children were more precious than anything in the world outside of her husband Bob. Her grandbabies ranged from college students to toddlers and she told me her biggest fear is that they wouldn’t remember her. Not true, because her children loved her as much as she loved them. In their lives, she was the biggest, brightest star.

“Every year, she, Sandy and I would go hiking in Colorado. Our first night was always spent in Denver at son Garett’s house where DIL Kassidy and grand baby Addie would make us feel at home. But the mountains called us and we spent days hiking until we could hardly stand. She loved the mountains. 

“Many times she went to the ocean with son Logan and his family. Jasmine loved having Diana nearby to help with their four precious kids. Every fall, for the last million years, daughter Jolie would spend a weekend Christmas shopping with Diana; I’m sure Jolie wonders how it can be Christmas without their yearly ritual. Jolie and Terry often took Diana to the lake to play. Both Brandy and Brian, who lived closest to her, came to see her often, asking for advice or just needing to soak up her positive vibes. She was an encourager.

“Diana hated injustice. She was a person who didn’t offer her opinion unless asked, but if you asked, you definitely got it. She had a way of defusing Sandy or me when we were upset. Diana was the major reason Sandy was able to cope after her sweet son, Paul, was taken in a motorcycle accident.

“She was creative and clever. I can’t tell you how many times she came up with crazy awesome ideas and would say to me… I found something you should make. More often than not, I’d do just that. People think I’m clever, but I was nothing without her. She was my idea person. She learned to do tons of neat things and was very good at it. She did woodworking, she weaved towels, she crocheted, she knitted, she painted walls, she laid down floors, she made cheese (she was a great cook), she canned veggies with Bob, she had chickens, she drove the grain truck, she was a momma, a grammy, a great friend, a sister, a lover, a wife. 

“She had an exercise group she adored (Erin Blocker) and so many friends and coworkers who loved her. Any time I went to Emporia and we went shopping (which was nearly always) we couldn’t go anywhere without tons of people stopping to talk to her: adults and students alike. She was loved.

“She was so much more than I can say. Our twin-speak was crazy. No one wanted to play games with us if we were on the same team. It was like we shared a brain (hey, no making comments). We called it ‘Twi-SP,’ like ESP for twins. I can’t tell you how many times she’d have me try on something so she could see how she looked in it. To be honest, I’ll miss people getting us mixed up. It wasn’t so fun in high school, but it was a hoot as we got older. She loved being a twin. We always had something to wear that was identical.

“I will miss you, sissy; more than anyone will ever know. But I won’t be alone. Diana has impacted a lot of people and I doubt very much she ever knew the extent of people who loved and admired her. Sissy, you are the bright shiny stars above me, watching over me and others. You live on in me, and your babies and grand babies will never forget your voice. Like Garett said to me, ‘If I need to hear my mom, I’ll call you.’ Losing my sister is tough but having an angel is great!”

Cremation is planned. A celebration of life will be announced later.


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